Two Key Components of Living Through Loss

Dear Friend,

Thank you for the outpouring of support over the last month. I’ve been blown away by the level of empathy, sympathy and compassion that has been shown me and my family during our time of grief.

I want to share some of the things that have helped me immensely in dealing with the loss of my mom.

But before I get into the specific resources available to support people in grief, I’d like to address two areas which are key to the process: self-care and the ability to receive.

Here’s the thing, at some point we will all experience great loss. If we are capable of human connection (which we are unless we’re sociopaths). {Please click the links. They contain super helpful information for FREE}…

Bottom line: we all face the loss of our most beloved people at some point. I don’t say that to be a downer, I am just trying to share what I’ve learned.

When my mom first had her stroke last January I reached out to my community and asked for help. Specifically I wanted to know what people who had been through aging parents caregiving did in order to take care of themselves.

The resounding response was that they didn’t take care of themselves – they ran themselves ragged, ate poorly, didn’t exercise, their sleep suffered, they gained weight, they were out of their mind with worry…

Every single one told me to did it differently then they had. These caregivers wished that they had taken better care of themselves because caregiving is hard and grieving is hard.

Every single person told me to really delve deep into my own self-care. Deep down I knew that was the answer, so I really took that advice to heart and now I am passing that on to you.

Let me be clear now:

self care is imperative

Your self-care is imperative to being able to really be there for the people you love most.

That whole put your oxygen mask on first thing is no joke.

We can kinda fake our self-care in the good times. We can kinda wing our our health, happiness and sanity.

But when shit goes down, if you don’t have a real self-care program in place, it ain’t gonna be pretty. Even with my plan in place, I still got bronchitis four times during that year of my mom’s stroke.

The second key part of the process is your ability to receive.

Sounds kinda bonkers, but I’m telling you grief is hard work. The kind of hard work that you can not do alone.

The first few days after my mom died, I was struck with how much I was going to need to rely on the kindness of others in order to get through this process.

The first order of business was feeding my family. I was pretty numb and not really worried about feeding myself, but I knew my people (and I) would need nourishment. As I sat in my chair in the livingroom I wondered how that was going to happen because truth be told, I couldn’t be bothered to leave that chair.
I was stuck.

So rather than make myself do something I wasn’t sure I was able to do (walk to the kitchen), I reached out to some wonderful local friends with little kids and asked them to please make some extra of whatever they were feeding their families and to bring us some.

Of course they did. They are part of my mama tribe, but the point is I had to know how to ask for what I needed and know who to ask. And then I had to be able to receive the gifts.

This last bit is crucial: you must be able to receive the kindness and support of others.

One of the things I did immediately when people started asking me what they could do to help my family was to make a list in my phone of who offered to do things and generally what they offered to do. I usually did this right in front of them because at that point concentration and memory were not my strong suit.

Every single one of my lovely people said they were glad I was taking their offer seriously enough to make note of it. I plan to take each and every one of them up on their offer to help. Grief takes way longer than one would hope.

In the months leading up to my mom’s death, I read a very powerful book on receiving called The Power of Receiving by Amanda Owen. I HIGHLY recommend everyone read this as part of their grief bootcamp — preferably way before you need it!

So remember – grief is hard work and you don’t have to do it alone. Self-care and the ability to receive help are crucial in the grief process (and perhaps the secret to a healthy, happy sane life.

With lots of self-kindness and love,

Tami xox

PS – If something in this (or any post) resonates with you and you think someone you know might like it too, please forward it to a friend.

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My Word of 2015
19 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself While Also Taking Care of the People You Love (You Don’t Have to Do All of Them To Feel Better)

Life Lesson From My Mom

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